Christmas Eve in the Atlas Mountains
How did you spend today? Busy with those last minute preparations for the big day tomorrow? Buying last minute presents, wrapping up everything in sight and getting a headstart on the vegetables I'll bet. I remember it well. The headaches of trying to track down an emergency pint of milk and realising that the nutcrackers haven't been seen since last year.
Well this is how I've spent the day so far. It was another early start here in Tinerhir in the Atlas Mountains where we've been for the last 3 days. It's a fantastic place to spend an alternative Christmas, with spectacular views of palmeries (date farms) in the valleys surrounded by rosy nike hyperdunk pink volcanic mountains. The numerous villages blend into the moutains as the square houses are built nike id cleats from the crushed rock that forms the earth here. At sunset the terrain looks like what you might expect Mars to look like if it was habitated by humans. It's much colder than I expected and the mountain peaks are iced with snow. The air is crisp and fresh. (Francine has just brought me a th la menthe, which has been de rigeur at every caf stop.)
While I wait for the mint tea to cool; I'll continue with the summary of today. Up at 7 am for breakfast of delicious freshly squeezed orange juice (the oranges grow locally so you can't get fresher), 2 fried pancakes spread with triangles of 'La Vache Qui Rit', a hard boiled egg and several cups of strong black coffee. This sets me up well until the picnic lunch at 1.30 pm. The Ramblers and I get on the coach at 8.30 am and the first stop is just down the hill into town to buy today's picnic. Francine, a professional shopper, knows the best place to buy the freshly cooked flat Moroccan bread, so that's the first purchase. We are then briefly distracted by a stall selling 'Nike' polo neck sweaters. None of us have brought nike zoom all out low enough warm clothing and at approximately 3 pounds each we all snap one up. Then it's shelled walnuts and olives and I have a feast to go with the dates I bought yesterday.
I have completed 2 walks in the last 2 days and today's required a steep ascent and, more worryingly, descent. My heel has been playing up so I opted to hang around near the bus and cafe, sitting and sketching in the sun, while the serious walkers did their thing. It was a lovely day with very little time to myself. Each tourist bus attracts a group of children, usually boys, asking for bonbons or stylos. Sometimes they bring a chameau (camel) or gazelle made out of palm leaf. One boy insisted on giving me his handmade gazelle as a 'present', but then looked extremely hurt when I didn't return the favour. I gave him a pen, some fruit toffees and small change but he still look depressed. In the end I shared my lunch with him which really stretched my knowledge of the French language. His name was Hassan and I think he and his family are poor and do not have enough to eat, because he saved the bread and was glad for the bag of dates I gave as a final parting gift. When I mentioned Yusuf Safry his face lit up. I'm not sure that he understood that Yusuf plays for Norwich, but he's clearly a famous player for the Moroccan team.